Tag Archive | IDEO

Bug list – design thinker’s first tool

Petti Jännäri, SID 2019 student

I love lists. I have dozens on my phone: one for books I’ve red, the ones I’d like to read, places I’d like to visit, etc. And now I have a bug list, an idea that Ideo’s David and Tom Kelley presented in their book Creative Confidence (2013). It is a list of things that I have noticed in everyday life that have creative opportunities. Issues, big and small, that someway bug me – things that could be solved with design thinking and its methods. Bug list is a tool that would be one of the first steps and lay under category Emergence in Evolution 62, an innovation and design thinking model by Mindshake.

Since design thinking is all about empathy, early action and collaboration, instead of just reading about it, I challenged my family to tackle one of the items on my bug list. Since “the health system” is somewhat monumental subject, I started with “engaging the whole family to do something fun during weekend” also known as item one on my bug list: “Kids just want to play Fortnite.”

To my surprise, the method worked, and we ended up having a lovely weekend with forest walk, reading books and watching a classic from the 90’s, the Kindergarten cop – thanks to collaboration. Funnily that was the part I struggled with and which taught me the most during my first design thinking exercise in SID class. As a journalist, I consider ideation a team effort but also something that must be viewed with a critical eye and at the end, with every story there is a byline. During the exercise, we didn’t have time to be too critical and the design thinking process was less controllable, even messy and there for a bit scary, I must admit. But as Ideo’s Tim Brown has argued in Harvard Business Review (2008): good ideas don´t come from the brain of one genius but are achieved by collaborating in the creative design thinking process. What freed me finally is a new perspective to me, the co-ownership of ideas.

Writing with capitals letters is one way of emphasizing the co-ownership.

Tim Brown outlines a design thinker’s personality profile and before collaboration comes empathy: “Great design thinkers observe the world in minute detail. They notice things that others do not and use their insights to inspire innovation.”
And what better tool to keep score of these things that a bug list. Bug can be something positive too, right?

Since I got my less artistic, sporty family to draw, I believe the Kelley brothers who argue that creative confidence in everyone’s reach. Next, we tackle another subject on my bug list of family life: the mystery of how to find a movie that everyone is happy to watch from the endless supply of Netflix, HBO, Viaplay, etc. The board is up.

Mindmap, another design thinker’s go-to tool, helped me narrow down the multiple ideas I had for this blog post -assignment.

From Chaos to Clarity: This is Design Thinking

“Design thinking is a human centered, creative, iterative and practical approach for coming up with new ideas and solutions” (Brown, 2008).

The approach can seem chaotic at first as the process doesn’t follow a linear path. The above picture by Tim Brennan of Apple’s Creative Services illustrates this well (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011).

The Different Stages of Design Thinking

There are several models that can be used to implement design thinking. For example at IDEO the design projects go through three, what they call, “spaces”: inspiration, ideation and implementation. The projects go back and forth through these three spaces in order to refine the idea and find new directions (Brown, 2008). Alternatively, the Portuguese company Mindshake follows the innovation process EVOLUTION 6². In this approach there are six steps: emergence, empathy, experimentation, elaboration, exposition and extension. It starts from identifying an opportunity and ends at looking at ways how to implement the solution. In the end, it doesn’t matter which model you use to implement design thinking as all the models use similar tools to move through the different stages.

EVOLUTION 6²

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

At the beginning of each stage, designers seek to look broadly at the problem, so they don’t get fixed on the most obvious first set of solutions. Designers refer to this as divergent thinking (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011). A good example of this is brainwriting, where participants write on post-it notes all the ideas that come to their mind. The more extreme the better. After having come up with new solutions, the designers need to start narrowing them down to the most promising ones. In this case to idea clusters, where similar ideas are stuck together on the wall (see below picture). This is referred to as convergent thinking.

Idea clustering
Brainwriting

Tools

There are plenty of tools to help designers to widen and narrow the set of questions in the different stages of the design thinking process. According to Liedtka and Ogilvie (2011): “Visualization is the “mother of all design tools”.” It is used in every step of the design thinking process. It helps to decrease the risk of wrong assumptions and one doesn’t have to be an artist to do it. Simplicity is key and just drawing stick figures is usually enough (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011). An equally popular tool is prototyping which is an easy and inexpensive way to quickly collect feedback on an idea before investing more time and resources on it (Brown, 2008). See below the example of the prototype of the Green Laurea concept which we created in class. The prototype was made by using only Legos and pieces of paper to simulate the ways in which the students and staff could collect green points, for example by biking to school.

Prototype made out of Legos

Design Thinking is for Everyone

In this blog I talked about designers going through the different stages of Design Thinking. However, you don’t have to be a designer to implement the above learnings in your organization. You can be an accountant or a buyer and still do all the above. Design thinking is really meant to be used by anyone in any industry. You can start by using one of the tools or go through the whole process. And don’t let the word design thinking intimidate you, just think of it as trying a new way of working in your organization.

Written by Lyydia Pertovaara

Links:

https://www.ideo.com/eu

https://www.mindshake.pt/

References:

Brown, Tim 2008. Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, June, 84-95. http://www.ideo.com/images/uploads/thoughts/IDEO_HBR_Design_Thinking.pdf   

Liedtka, Jeanne & Ogilvie, Tim 2011. Designing for growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers, New York: Columbia University Press.

Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design, by IDEO.org and +Acumen

Late last year I felt I could use a little recap on some of the things learned on the very first courses of the Service Design Masters degree. At the same time I was longing for some fresh thoughts and a push to jump start my thesis – a way to get creative and actually do some design stuff instead of just planning it. The free Human-Centered Design course by IDEO.org and +Acumen, mixing online and in-person teamwork, seemed like a good way to do that.

Described as an “intensive, hands-on learning experience“, the course description promised the participants would “leave this experience equipped and energized to apply the human-centered design process to challenges across industries, sectors, and geographies to generate breakthrough ideas.” Well, that sounds great, but would someone with quite some earlier knowledge and experience in Service Design and in general human-centered design projects get something out of it too, besides a repetition of things already known? I was also wondering how the theme and topics would feel, as the focus seemed largely to be in humanitarian and social welfare – a hugely important topic, however sadly not my forte previously.

Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation

IDEO mini challenge 1The course started in January and, thanks to all sorts of online groups and forums, it was fairly easy to find a team to do the meet-ups with. We ended up being 5 in our group, all previously unknown to each other. The course platform provided us with instructions on the different phases, “classes”, we were to go through to complete the course. The first meet-up went in a bit of a haze, getting to know each other while trying to follow the guidelines from the somewhat confusing set of material piles (for each “class” there being 2 separate packs of materials). Lucky we had a group leader of sorts in our group, making sure we had agreed on specific days for our future meetings so we could keep up with the course deadlines.

The course followed a set structure and timeline, with the design process following the steps Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation. The second group meeting was missed by a couple of us, but the ones attending divided the research between us all and we all managed to do our parts before the following meeting. And on the third meeting we finally got to a classic – you guessed it – post-it party!

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Latest at this stage it was fairly clear the methods and principles of the course were very familiar to a Service Design student, but doing research and ideating was in any case tons of fun and not at all that easy. It was great to work together with a group of people not previously familiar with each other, building on each other’s ideas and hearing about new ways to look at the same things.

 

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In the following meeting we moved on to How Might We questions – this brought us another interesting conversation, as some in the group had somewhat unknowingly used a similar approach to problem-solving. After that it was time for creating a story board and moving on to prototyping.

The course finished with an energising afternoon over brunch, making a pitch for our solution, followed by reflection and discussion on our learning.

 

To summarise the experience, here’s a little list based purely on my personal thoughts:

+ Nice and easy way to recap a human-centric design process

+ Practical and structured guidelines and tasks

+ Basic background info and examples on methods and process

+ Great to work in a new team and learn from others!

– 2 separate material packs for each class didn’t feel like the best way to go

– No new methods or insights for someone already familiar with Service Design

– End result and experience would depend a lot on the team: in my case it was wonderful but it could have been totally different if e.g. there was someone really bossy or other characters that can make ideation etc. difficult.

All in all, I was very happy with my experience. And the team proved to be so good that some of us have already met at a couple of other Service Design events, and we plan to meet with the whole group again soon!

 

The author Kaisla Saastamoinen is a Service Design Masters student with a passion for human-centric design, co-creation, and coffee.

New School Techniques and the Innovation Magic Box

Day One in School

The roll call begins Itziar, Predrag, CagriMervi, HaanaIda and of course my name Titikshya a tongue twister in the list  … The day starts with so many new names, felt like it would take ages to remember all faces and names … but know what our Design thinking lecturers had in their Magic Box new methods and techniques in introducing each of us. What comes out the box is a little walk around like “Moving in Space” “Who are we” “Bingo: collecting signatures”. The outcome was smart way of introducing new faces. Not all but at-least few new faces were recognized. This was quite an innovative way of introducing a class and collecting signatures was so interactive that reflected a child in each of us eager to collect signature and says Bingo. I will be using these technique’s in many other instances in my life, it would work out well in birthday parties, get together and social events.

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Gijs van Wulfen’s book The innovation expedition – a visual toolkit to start innovation ends with 37 techniques and tools for managers, consultants and entrepreneurs to use in projects at the start of innovation. One of those 37 techniques is OPENERS: For the effectiveness of every workshop or brainstorming session it is important that the participants feel at ease. There are techniques with helpful activities that can be implemented for a smoother “getting acquainted” phase. These are: Photo Introduction, Key chain Introduction, Your Innovation, The Sequence Game, Mix it Up and The Trash Can.

Then the Magic show continues on the with a lecture on Design Thinking by Prof. Katja Tschimmel exercise pencil which again shows over versatility in thinking how far could our imagination led us stretch our thought on How do I use a pencil ? What came out this time is…. Use pencil for plant support, save someone’s life, curl support, and create designs and so on. Here we got to know how strange ideas pop up in our mind in the last minutes. This was again one of the 37 techniques mentioned in the book by Gijs: BRAINSTORMING GAMES: Brainstorming brings to mind something playful and fun to do. Quite interesting Games like Free the Genie Cards, The KnowBrainer, Thinpak, IDEO method cards.

The class continues What’s Innovation and Introduction FORTH Innovation Method and Introducing 10 Design Thinking Tools like mindmapping, visualizing and creating and presenting mood board and brain writing. This is what came out of my mind for my daughters 3rd birthday planning, a mind map mad after the class.

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